Author Lauren Willig is perhaps best known for her Pink Carnation series, of which I’ve read exactly none. But given that I’ve liked her writing in other stand-alone books, I decided to give The Other Daughter a try.
Rachel Woodly has been tutored, loved, and taught genteel manners by her hard-working mother after her father doesn’t return from a trip. Rachel was told that he died, and because he died so far away (and it was the 1920s), he was buried where he passed away.
She takes a job as a governess for a wealthy society family. She is traveling with the family in France when her mother takes ill. Rachel doesn’t receive word of her mother’s illness until it’s too late. By time she gets home, her mother has passed away.
While cleaning up her mother’s house, she comes across a newspaper clipping that shows a recent photo of her father – not dead, but instead, quite alive, and an Earl with an entire separate family. Rachel is unable to come to grips with this shocking information, and decides to pass herself off as a society woman with the help of a wealthy acquaintance in order to confront her father.
Her plan works, but she unexpectedly grows to like the woman who is her half-sister. Drama ensues as Rachel learns the truth about what happened between her mother and father, and why he has a whole new life. The story is quite compelling.
Willig is a very good writer, and her story kept me turning pages. The Other Daughter is one of her few attempts at writing a novel with a single perspective instead of the back-and-forth-in-time perspectives that have become so popular. I think that was one of the things I liked best about this book.
I enthusiastically recommend The Other Daughter.